Things are hopping politically and if you're interested in the goings on in government, whether executive, legislative or judicial, there should be something juicy to follow. With this as inspiration, I've decided to draft a few Amendments to our Constitution. I am not deluding myself into thinking they'll ever be ratified, but I can dream, can't I?
(Please forgive me if my language isn't 100% constitutionally perfect.)
On Legislative Responsibility
Congress has been running amok for years...no decades...no maybe well over a century. They need to be told to self regulate how they draft legislation. If they miss, then the President needs the line-item-veto to put things back on track.
Congress shall add no amendment to any proposed legislation which is not relevant to the said bill. All legislation regarding pay and benefits for Congress shall be submitted for consideration only as a bill, and may not be an amendment to any type of proposed legislation. Congress shall endeavor in all earnestness to remove all irrelevant and inappropriate amendments from pending legislation prior to voting and submitting to the President. The President shall have the power to enforce this amendment by vetoing individual amendments from legislation he intends to approve if the amendment is determined to be irrelevant and/or inappropriate.
On Presidential Nominations
"No one truly qualified for government wants the job." Thank the MSM and sniping, backbiting, mud-slinging politicians for this fact. Well, this proposed amendment might help, in part, by sharply reducing the amount of time a Presidential nominee is exposed to the political elements. Recently I was reading a book of biographies of all the Associate Justices and Chief Justices of the Supreme Court. Congress often approved them within a week of being nominated. What a wonderful world that would be...Congress getting things done in a timely manner.
The President shall make all nominations to federal offices by noon (local time - Washington D.C.) on non-holiday Mondays while Congress is in session. To ensure expediency, the Congress shall approve all nominations without exception by five in the evening (local time - Washington D.C.) on the second Friday following the nomination. The President may not nominate someone for federal office if sufficient time in the legislative session does not remain for a full debate and voting cycle. All votes on nominees will be simple yes or no votes, with a simple majority being required for ascension. All regular rules of legislative conduct apply, but Congress may censure any or all of its members who deliberately seek to unreasonably delay or disrupt the proceedings of advise and consent. Legislators may not apply any political, religious or ideological requirements to nominees. Judicial nominees my not be questioned as to how they would vote on specific legislation.
On Elections to Congress
OK, enough is enough...let someone else have a chance already! This proposed amendment was inspired, in part, by Hillary Clinton's hijacking (yes, I said it) of a New York Senatorial seat. Career fat cat and dead wood politicians also inspired it - regardless of on which side of the aisle they resided.
No person may be elected as a Senator more than twice, nor may any person be elected a Senator more than once if that person served more than half the term of another Senator. No person may be elected as a Representative more than six times, nor may any person be elected a Representative more than five times if that person served more than half the term of another Representative. A person who has served the maximum time allowed in either the Senate or the House of Representatives may also then run for and serve for the fully allowed time in the other house. No person may be elected to either the Senate or House of Representatives from any state if that person is not a current resident of that state and has not lived in the state for at least three years prior to taking office. If a person is a resident of a state but also serving in the military during the three years prior to taking elected office, that person may only be in actual residence for two of the three years (in any combination) prior to serving.
On Elections to Federal Offices
Come on, people, let's not be greedy. This proposed amendment was also inspired by Hillary Clinton's usurping one of my home states Senatorial seat and her obvious disregard for it given her intent to leave it cold one day. It was also inspired by Senator Lieberman's dual run for Senator and Vice-President in 2000.
No person may run for two elected federal offices at the same time, nor may a person currently holding any federal elected office run for any other federal elected office unless the terms of the two offices do not overlap more than one month... Where the terms of office do overlap more than one month, the person must resign the first office in order to run for the second.
On the Election of the President
OK...let's close the barn door BEFORE the horse escapes again! The citizens do not elect the President, because he/she is not our president, directly. The President is the leader of our Republic - our union of sovereign states. As such, we don't use a direct popular election. Rather, we have muddied the water with the Electoral College, so each state receives electors for president based on the total number of congressional representatives plus senators.
The problem is that the electoral span between the largest and smallest states was only nine votes in 1788 whereas now it's fifty-two. This huge disparity disrupts the compromise the delegates made in 1787 and returns us to a popular vote in all but name. When the election is very close, well, we see what happens. Under the proposed amendment below, George Bush would have received 78 electoral votes in 2000 and Al Gore only 61. This system would return the power to elect the president back to a split between the state and population. It would also prevent a tie, and help persuade candidates to campaign in more than just the heavily populated states. Eight votes isn't too wide a spread - so every state counts.
The electoral votes of the various states shall apportion as follows: No state shall have less than two and no more than ten electoral votes for president. The electoral votes shall be normalized to the most populous state and rounded to the neatest even number representing the ratio of its population to that of the most populous state. The District of Columbia shall have only one electoral vote for president. The various states shall assign their total electoral votes to only one candidate. The electoral votes are legally bound to the winning candidate in that state and may not be arbitrarily or deliberately assigned to any other candidate. The ceremonial position of elector is hereby abolished.